No Beef - © Sound Cloud

Sustainability Resolutions: What We Can Do in 2024

‘Sustainability’ itself, is probably one of the keywords in the foodsphere for 2024. And The Guardian has compiled a list of 21 resolutions we should all keep to help support sustainability in the food supply…

Spanish Beans and Rice - © elavegan.comClassic Plant-based main: Beans and Rice. Non-Western cuisines have featured
it for thousands of years. Literally a world of flavours at your command…

Some more ‘doable’ than others

As I went down the Guardian List, I remarked to myself that there are really 2 lists there. One is rooted in common sense. They’re suggestions that we can all embrace. And they require minimal effort to keep. All we really have to do is change the way we look at some fundamental habits and issues.

I’ve plucked from the list the ones I consider the most practical and most likely to directly impact our everyday lives…

Eat less Beef

This is an obvious one. And all too easy to do, because many of us can’t afford it anymore. But the proponents of this resolution are more concerned about the huge environmental load that raising beef places on the plant. Production of other traditional animal proteins contributes similar stress in lkesser emounts. The obvious conclusion is to switch from animal to plant proteins.

Host a kitchen gadget swap

Here’s one I hadn’t considered before I saw this list. Great idea? Make it a weekend event like a yard sale. I’ve already had occasion to give away surplus measuring cups (that piled up during downsizing) from the amalgamation of three kitchens, as sister Erin, and later Mom came to live with me. Chef secret: Many older cooks are still using older cooking tools that aren’t calibrated in metric!

Store food properly so it won’t spoil

Along with resisting the temptation to over-buy when the deals tantalize you, you can easily take a few moments to store fresh foods properly when you get them home from the supermarket. A major point of wastage in the food chain comes at the end, when food that goes bad in the fridge or pantry before you can use it.

Store leftovers properly

… And use them! You can – and should – even plan ahead in your weekly mealscapes, to use up leftovers you can expect from early-cycle meals. And I encourage you to employ soups, stews, stir frys and Chaos Cooking techniques. And remember: you can put almost any leftover in a taco or burrito…

Use ‘reusables’

That means refillable water bottles, re-usable fridge and freezer containers, and non-disposable plates, cutlery, cups and napkins. A couple of extra dishwasher loads a week will go a long way to helping cut solid waste – especially single-use plastics.

Eat more plant-based foods

We’re going to be doing this by default over the next decade anyway, as traditional foods such as meat continue to price themselves out of reach for the masses. European and North American traditions have elevated meat to a place of almost legendary status. Virtually all of the other cultures in the world have always held plant-based foods above meat in their cuisines. And it’s no coincidence that most of those traditions have produced populations that are healthier, slimmer and less likely to suffer cancer or heart disease then ours.

Make a grocery list

… And stick to it! Plan your meals a week ahead and buy only what you’ll need to make those dishes. Keep frills and junk food off your list. Supermarket operators everything they can to get you to spend more. From point-of-sale ‘features’ get you when you’re in line at the checkout. BOGO deals really aren’t that great an idea, if the extra food you bought goes bad before you can use it.

Then there are the others…

There are several more sustainability resolutions on the Guardian list. But they represent a separate, political and philosophical road.

I consider these optional, unless you are a strong believer in environmental causes. Or you choose to publicly advocate for them.

But I feel strongly that we as individuals can make a bigger, more significant contribution to sustainability if we all take care of business at home first…

~ Maggie J.